Review: Book The Shack Yields Wholeness from Shattered Hearts
When I closed the book on The Shack, one word hung in the air—wholeness. As a Spirit-filled, Christian, I was shocked that I could not define what the word means, but Wm. Paul Young, author of the New York Times Bestselling novel, not only put that word into words, but he did it with numbing emotions, bright colors, menacing shadows, and screeching silence.
The story is told through the life of Mack and his family who live in the Northwest territory of the United States. In the icy cold winter, Mack, a believer, seminary grad, and churchgoer, finds receiving and accepting God’s love more challenging than walking on slick ice in house shoes. Considering his troubled childhood and traumatic death of his youngest daughter, he is chained to the darkness of his own heart and by his own choice refuses to let in the light. As I journeyed with Mack into his personal version of hell on earth, the lines of his life and my life became blurred. Darkened crevices of my own heart were suddenly illuminated.
Through Mack, Young exposes the heavy lostness that I think penetrates every believing Christian’s heart at one time or season, and the willingness of God, Papa, to infuse His love into our hurts. Mack receives a disturbing invitation to confront the source of his pain, and when he accepts it the events that followed caused my face to erupt into tears, wide eyes, pouted lips, and laughter. Young portrays Mack’s rocky recovery toward wholeness in a simplistic, poetic, and rich manner. I truly did not want the book to end, and in my heart I know it hasn’t. The Shack will forever be a symbol that even in places of death, life and restoration persistently flourish. Undoubtedly, Young makes it clear that wholeness is eternally God’s plan for everyone.